"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" exclaimed the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz as he tried to dodge accountability from Dorothy and her friends. Behind the magical floating head and fiery distractions was nothing more than a fraud.
That's the way a New York Times exposé painted Dr. Mehmet Cengiz Öz, the TV doctor running for the U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania after years of allegations, lawsuits and controversy around his "miracle cures" that he has advertised on his shows.
Now that he's running for the Senate, Oz is saying that he's running as a conservative because the "people in charge" are responsible for taking away "our freedom." It is leaving those on the left and right with questions about where he stands on issues involving science and medicine.
There was a controversy involving the doctor's promotion of hydroxychloroquine. When the results came in and Dr. Oz was clearly proven wrong, he went silent on this issue. He never told his followers or the Fox audiences he spoke to that he was wrong.
The conservative site Townhall wants to know if Dr. Oz intends to take a clear stand on abortion, or even if he's ever performed an abortion.
This week, Breitbart attacked Oz for asking for empathy for transgender people. The GOP hasn't been kind to trans people, who are frequently ignored in activism over LGBTQ issues. Trump barred trans service members from the armed forces. Meanwhile, school boards are refusing to allow trans youth to use the bathroom of their choosing under the false assumption that they'll sexually assault someone while relieving themselves.
The conservative outlet the National Review is asking questions about Oz's connections to the Turkish government, which they said deserves to be examined closer.
Oz lost it when a Pennsylvania publication refused to use the prefix "Dr." when speaking about him. While the paper said that it applies that standard to all candidates in all parties, it brought up questions about whether the doctor should be promoting his career given his past with quack medical claims.
The hydroxychloroquine flub was one of the more recent public mistakes the TV doctor made while claiming to be a man of science. Before a Senate committee in 2014, Oz was chided for peddling bogus "weight-loss pills" and other scams.
.@tripgabriel recounts 6/17/2014 hearing:\n"Dr Oz admitted to senators that his claims often 'don\u2019t have the scientific muster to present as fact'\u201d \nhttps://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/26/us/politics/dr-oz-medical-advice.html\u00a0\u2026\nHere's the clip via exchange w/ @clairecmc - also "as a practitioner I can't prove that prayer helps people"pic.twitter.com/Il1AsXtkRu— Howard Mortman (@Howard Mortman) 1640537889
Physician peers came out against him, including a group of 10 doctors who called for him to be fired from Columbia University’s medical faculty because he'd "repeatedly shown disdain for science and for evidence-based medicine." It's a private institution and claimed that it didn't regulate faculty outside of their classrooms.
The Times exposé reported that over the years, Oz has claimed that his advice was really just to "empower" the average American to take control of their health.
At a time when U.S. television is overwhelmed with pharmaceutical ads and the obesity epidemic is sending desperate people searching for miracle cures, Dr. Oz told people what they wanted to hear. In fact, he said as much when testifying to the Senate in 2014: "My job on the show, I feel, is to be a cheerleader for the audience." But people don't go to their doctor to hear a cheerleader. They go to the doctor to get the truth and both sides want to hear some from him.